Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Excuse of the Week Award

I've heard some pretty creative excuses for bad behavior from my kids. But our two boys have nothing on California Republican Congressman Dan Lungren, who explained a recent junket to Hawaii this way:

[Lungren] insisted he carried out important discussions with airport executives while at the pool. "I'm a California kid," Rep. Lungren told ABC News. "I grew up around pools. We do a lot of business around pools." Asked if he would have attended if the January conference were held in Pittsburgh, Lungren said, "Do I look like I go to Pittsburgh in January?"

At least you have to give him credit for being honest about Pittsburgh. And the guy looks like he could really use a little R&R

I should point out that the other politician along on the trip was Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye. Lobbyists are equal opportunity corrupters.

The Times They Are A-Changin' - Majority of Californians back gay marriage!

I didn't think I'd see this until my kid's generation were adults:

(AP) - More California voters now support allowing same-sex marriage than oppose it, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The results mark the first time in over three decades of polling that more California voters have approved of extending marriage to gay couples than have disapproved...

The poll found that 51 percent of respondents backed legalizing same-sex marriage and 42 percent opposed it, DiCamillo said.

In 2006, when participants were asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of California allowing homosexuals to marry members of their own sex?" 44 percent said they approved and 50 percent objected. In 1977, the first year Field posted the question to voters, 28 percent approved and 59 percent were opposed.

"The Times They Are A-Changin'", by Bob Dylan. This is the original version from Dylan's 1964 album of the same name. An oldie, but quite appropriate.

WMC Critics Get It Wrong

I think a lot of critics of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) are making a big mistake. There's reasonably broad recognition that WMC's constant harping about Wisconsin's business climate is probably driving business away from the state. Most commentators seem to see this as unintentional, if somewhat ironic, collateral damage from WMC's war on regulation and taxes. But they're wrong.

Many of WMC's largest and most powerful corporate members directly benefit from a weak Wisconsin economy. While their markets are primarily national and international, their labor costs are largely determined by the local job market. It is very clearly in their best interests to make Wisconsin seem as unattractive to business as possible. Which is exactly what WMC is doing.

Of course this is completely counter to the interests of the majority of WMC members who depend on their sales in Wisconsin to make a profit. But, as in all organizations, the big guys at the top set the course, and the little ones at the bottom often get screwed.


Paul Soglin, on his superb and thoughtful blog Waxing America, has probably done more than anyone else to dig out the truth about WMC's claims. Well worth reading.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

McKinney Goes Green

Looks like former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has sown up the Green Party's presidential nomination. While I think McCain is more at risk from third party candidates this fall, McKinney will hurt Obama. McKinney herself has a rather strange take on the the potential impact of her campaign:

"Basically, what you are suggesting is by participating in the Democratic process the Green Party is going to become, quote, 'the spoiler.' "It is impossible to become a spoiler based on past experience when one examines the past.

"In the 2000 election, 6 million votes were not counted," she said. "They were cast but not counted. It is impossible that George W. Bush won the White House on 537 votes. That was constructed. That was contrived, and the Democratic Party failed to fight for the voters who voted it into the White House. In 2004, 3 million votes were cast but not counted."

Her points about election integrity and the Democratic Party's failure to contest undercounted votes are quite valid, but claiming that she can't possibly have any effect on this election because votes weren't counted in past elections is some seriously convoluted logic. Rather self-serving, too.

McKinney had a very progressive voting record in congress, somewhat to the left of both Obama and Clinton. She's a good speaker and a tough campaigner, and will certainly make November's election more interesting.